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FAMILY   -   BABY LOVE
His Journey, his Way
My Homebirth Story
July, 2010 - Issue #69
I'm known for being prepared. And so it seemed strange to me, seven months into my healthy pregnancy, I had yet to pack my hospital bag.

Ever since I learned that my husband, Kyle, and I were expecting our first child, I had been drawn to the idea of giving birth in the water.

But that wasn't a "traditional birth" option, and so we diligently met with my OB physician. As my due date grew closer, though, I could no longer ignore my desire to have a natural waterbirth at home, in an environment I could control. I called Renee the Midwife the next day and told her my "birth plan."

The Crawford Family (Teri Montoya Photography 810-7840)
The Crawford Family (Teri Montoya Photography 810-7840)
The following day, we met Renee for our first appointment in our home. It was the best I'd had yet; comfortable, informative and intimate.

Kyle and I continued to see Renee every week. From the start I felt like I had known her forever; she just "got" me. With Renee, our quality of care was superior from day one and I can say with certainty now that my family is better off for it. Each appointment empowered and prepared us for what was to come.

I started early labor the evening of my due date. Four days later, at what would be our last check up, I was frustrated to find out that I was only 1.5 centimeters dilated and 80-percent effaced. We were ready to meet our son. Renee told us that if the baby was ready, castor oil may inspire him to start his journey.

Kyle and I headed to the Valencia Wellness Center to pick up the "inspiration" while I called my dear friend, Therese Edwards, who, with two natural labors of her own behind her, would serve as our birthing coach.

Once home, Kyle and I worked to set the stage for our son's arrival. Battery-operated candles dimly lit the upstairs, and the ipod resonated with the cords of the Birth Playlist. I took a hot shower, a dose of "inspiration" and sat in my favorite chair with my favorite people (Kyle, and our dogs, Sparky and Charlie). It was calm, so we just took in the moment.

Still alone, Kyle and I swayed and danced through the contractions. Therese arrived at 4:30 p.m., in plenty of time to support me through more active labor. Free to move about, I walked from room to room, which eased my pain and provided a calming distraction. I labored in the nursery. I spent some time in the hot shower, which relaxed my muscles. Kyle and Therese rubbed my back and feet to soothe me and provide relief as they timed the contractions. The music played on while I focused and breathed.

I progressed quickly. At about 6 p.m. we called Renee to tell her that the contractions were five minutes apart. She listened over the phone, timing contractions with us, and made her way over.

Cassel J. Davis Crawford Born Blessed May 14, 2010
Cassel J. Davis Crawford Born Blessed May 14, 2010
Kyle began to fill the birthing tub, an inflatable behemoth - complete with interior handles to make positioning easier - that would hold 170 gallons of warm, soothing water. Renee arrived, checked in with me, and then unpacked what can only be described as a portable emergency room.

As I transitioned into the final stage of labor, the contractions were more frequent and intense - but they were manageable.

As bad as the pain was, the gravity-defying relief the birthing tub provided was stronger. The water was amazing! It was incredible how it relieved most of the pressure in my midsection and lower back. Watching the birthing video with family the next day, someone asked if I had passed out after getting into the tub. Of course not! But that's how relaxed I felt, and, evidently, looked.

After my first contraction in the tub (they had since slowed down, thankfully), Renee checked me again and assured me that if I pushed, the baby would come. I pushed through three contractions (also a part of my "birth plan") in eight minutes. The first contraction took him through the canal, the second brought his head out and the third and final push delivered him into my arms at 9:11 p.m.

My body was instantly overcome with a huge relief of pressure and my heart was full of praise to God for our healthy and beautiful son. Still in the tub, with my son on my chest, Renee checked him - though there was little doubt he was fine. Already, his lungs were showing off their skills! I held him close and kissed his head while Renee went about her work, helping Kyle cut the cord.

After being helped out of the tub, I laid on my bed and was tended to while Kyle and our son bonded skin to skin next to me. At one point, Kyle put our son next to my face; bright-eyed and ready to eat, he latched onto my nose.

Linda, a professional midwife and Renee's assistant, gave the baby the full "inspection" right next to me on the bed. I filmed his first test (which he passed with flying colors!) while eating a peanut butter and honey sandwich and sipping on carrot juice.

Within an hour of delivery, I had showered, eaten and was resting comfortably in my clean bed with my husband and our son. Amazing.

Laurie Sachs Photography 305-5493
Laurie Sachs Photography 305-5493
Renee and Linda left at about 1:30 a.m., after ensuring that both the baby and I were healthy and able to nurse. Therese would stay for five more days, providing the advice and assistance only another mother and a trusted, true friend could give.

I will never forget that first, surreal evening together - just the three of us. Kyle and I were too excited to go right to sleep. We admired him together, taken by how he seemed to know us, so alert, but peaceful.

Eventually, I fell into a deep, healing slumber. Kyle stayed up, holding our baby all night. Father and son were very busy, I think, falling in love.

I like to believe that I have a giving, generous heart - and so it seems dramatic to say that our homebirth was the best thing I've ever done for someone else. But it was. This was Cassel J. Davis Crawford's journey, and I let him do it his way.
The birth was exactly what I had "planned" for my son: a safe, stress free journey in our loving, intimate home.

His journey, his way.
Jeanna Crawford is the president of SC Publishing, Inc., proud publisher of Inside SCV Magazine. She is already working on her next "birth plan."

Things I Loved...
"Meeting" Cassel for the first time in Storks & Co.'s (254-8100) comfortable viewing room

Creating his space with the help of Mint Condition Painting and Moulding (251-5521), Brent's Carpet One (255-3337), ABC Baby Furniture (775-0360) and Suburban Chateau 775-2980

My pre-baby hypno breathing session with Karen Malick-Whitely of Balance Point Spa 252-0650

Valencia Wellness Center's (255-6217) awesome collection of natural supplements

Aden+Anais muslin blankets from MaMaison 799-7983

In home family photography session two days after birth by Teri Montoya Photography 810-7840

The three day baby check up housecall by Dr. Horowitz of Discovery Pediatrics 259-8999

Seven day newborn photographs of my prince charming by Laurie Sachs Photography 305-5493

Renee the Midwife and Cassel J. Davis Crawford (Teri Montoya Photography 810-7840)
Renee the Midwife and Cassel J. Davis Crawford (Teri Montoya Photography 810-7840)
What's in Renee the Midwife's Bag?
Doppler to listen to fetal heart tones (baby's heartbeat during labor). Hers is waterproof so you can still listen in when Mom wants a waterbirth.

IV fluids and antibiotics with a variety of medications in case of an emergency.

Oxygen tank and all necessary resuscitation equipment; the midwife and all assistants are certified in neonatal resuscitation.

Instruments, numbing medicine and everything needed to suture Mom in case she tears or has an episiotomy.

Everything needed for a full newborn exam.

Herbs and homeopathic remedies to assist with a variety of issues during labor, delivery and postpartum.

The most important thing a midwife brings to a birth is her love, compassion, patience and trust in the birth process.
For more information on Renee the Midwife - or her center, the Santa Clarita Birth & Women's Health Center (Santa Clarita's only free-standing birthing center) - call 254-3000 or log onto www.reneethemidwife.com.
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